Announcing the 9th Annual Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium

The 8th Annual Great Gardens & Landscaping Symposium

Are readers of TheGardenLady interested in attending Garden and Landscaping Symposiums? Here is a site that gives information about one symposium called the 9th Annual Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium. It will be held in April (the 13th and 14th) in Vermont and looks like it has some outstanding lecturers. It is open to all garden lovers. You can read about all the speakers at the site.

Is This Plant a Dwarf Aloe?

Erica asked TheGardenLady to identify this plant in the photo above and below.

TheGardenLady thinks the plant looks like a miniature or dwarf aloe.  See here.  But which kind is difficult to know. I think it might be Aloe brevifolia. If you bought it at a nursery, see if they know the name of the plant you bought. If not check out some of the websites that sell the dwarf or miniature aloes, like this one.

If any of TheGardenLady readers can accurately identify this plant, let us know.

Jonn Scheepers’ Seed-Starting Timetable

Image from John Scheeper’s Website Kitchen Garden Seeds

One of the catalogs that this GardenLady has been poring over has been the John Scheepers “Kitchen Garden Seeds” catalog. But how does a reader know when to start plants indoors to have them ready to plant outdoors when nature in your Temperature Hardiness Zones tells you it is safe to plant outdoors? One doesn’t want to begin seeds indoors too early or they may grow “leggy” and not strong enough to set outdoors. Or one might start the indoor seeds late so they wouldn’t be far enough advanced when transpanting outdoors. And do you know which seeds are best to start indoors and which are best to sow directly into the ground outdoors?

Here is the general indoor Seed- Starting Timetable for seeds from John Scheepers and the information about which seeds should be sown directly into the ground outdoors. Also, there are contact numbers for more information that you can get directly from John Scheepers.

When growing indoors, make sure you have all necessary equipment; some plants may benefit from LED grow lights.


Caring for Poinsettias

Poinsettia by kadavoor

This is the time of year that many homes are enjoying the Poinsettia plant, euphorbia pulcherrima, that they either bought for themselves to decorate their homes for the holidays or received as holiday gifts. And though we are enjoying the beauty of the red leaves that look like flowers, many of us wish we could save the plant and have those beautiful colors return next year.   See a previous post on this topic here.

TheGardenLady received advice from a blog she has signed up to receive that gives information on all sorts of gardening. This month they have an article on caring for a Poinsettia so that it will give you the beauty of the color next December. This information comes from a professional plant nursery in West Virginia that TheGardenLady visited this past fall. Bob’s Market Nursery has a wonderful blog that any gardener can subscribe to as well.

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Lynne’s Horticultural Experience in Botswana

A dear friend, Lynne, joined the Peace Corp and left sunny California and her beautiful garden to go to Botswana, Africa for a sunnier location and hopefully a new and beautiful garden. Lynne was sent to work in a town called Mmathethe. I asked her if she would write about some of her gardening experience and the plants that she sees in Botswana for readers around the world to read.

How much do we know about Botswana? If you want to read her humerous and delightful blog, check it out here.   Here is the first post for TheGardenLady with photographs and with some added comments from TheGardenLady.

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Hydroponics and Window Farming

781 Window Farm by dorywithserifs

It is winter, brrrrr. Really fresh fruit and vegetables would really be a treat at this time of the year- not the limp stuff that is sold in even the best supermarkets during the winter months. To be able to raise your own salad, would you like to join with people around the world who are now farming inside their own apartments or homes?

Window Farms by Britta Riley / Eyebeam Open Studios Fall 2009 / 20091023.10D.55550.P1.L1.C23 / SML by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

“Window farming” is becoming the hottest idea for people young and old because it enables them to grow vegetables, salad or fruits salad at home cheaply and with minimal light. This movement was started by a young, thirty something year old woman from Brooklyn, New York, Britta Riley. Britta Riley wanted to know where her vegetables came from and how they were grown. So she devised a contraption to grow vegetable plants hydroponically in her apartment.

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2012 Flower and Garden Shows

Kiev Flower Show, 2010 by Roads Less Traveled.

It is that time of year again – for Flower and Garden Shows.

An early one, starting on Thurs. Feb. 16th and running through Sun. Feb. 19 th is the New Jersey Flower Show.  It will be held in the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey 08837. If you have any questions I believe you can phone for up-to-date information, schedules and directions, 1-800-332-3976 and visit where they say you can get two for one tickets.

For a more complete list of Garden shows around the United States, by state, check out’s gardening section.  See here.

Or if you are traveling around the world, check out some of the flower shows in the country of your destination.

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Pooktre, Tree Shapers

TheGardenLady has seen and been amazed by photos of trees that have been shaped to grow in unusual and artistic shapes.

About a year ago, TheGardenLady discovered the works of Tree Shaper, Peter Cook, who is a creator of some of these artistically-shaped trees in Australia. I wrote to him asking if he had a book out about his works. I thought it might be interesting to own a coffee table work of his amazing living tree art. I just received an emailed response from this artist and his significant other, another artist, Becky Northey. Together they have mastered the art of tree shaping and started Pooktre, Tree Shapers, which creates interesting art using trees. Creative artists that they are, they have come up with other exciting art with bits of nature and natural products as well as their shaped trees.

The 2009 Ripleys’ Believe It or Not was equally amazed with Peter Cook’s trees.  See here.

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A Plant Lover from Pune, India

Flores de Mirabilis jalapa by

2012 has started off so wonderfully for TheGardenLady. Among the reasons it has been such a happy start to the New Year is an email that I received the other day from a beautiful young girl from India who used to walk past my gardens and tell me how much she loved them. I would like to share some excerpts from the young woman who has allowed me to use her name.

First of all, a very Happy New Year to you. Hope you remember me (the Indian girl who would walk around your lovely garden in the spring afternoons, we also spoke a couple of times).

Being a plant lover, I will never forget your lovely garden and your passion for gardening. I still remember the beautiful sight of colourful spring flowers blooming out in your garden. I have captured many of them in my camera and plan to send it out to you. The pictures have come out as beautiful as your flowers:) Back in India, I shared the pictures with my friends and family and they loved it.

I follow your blog and and liked the article about burpee seeds recently.

One of my first [discoveries] about the flora in Pune, India is the abundance of the “Mirabilis Jalapa” flower. There are so many varieties of them blooming around gardens and households, Dark Pink, White, Yellow, two-tones etc..I am planning to plant one of the pink variety of the plant. I will also get some pictures for you to upload on the Gardenlady blog.

Thanks again for the guidance about orchids. I plan to get one from the greenhouse. Since I am new to the city, I still have to check out good nurseries and plant options. Will share the progress on the plants at home with you on a regular basis.

Regarding the Burpee seed catalog, unfortunately they don’t ship to India. I have to do some research regarding the horticulture societies around Pune. 

My house is an apartment styled one and I have two new plants. One is a yellow hibiscus and the other is a pink anthurium. I got the pink anthurium from a greenhouse I is still adapting to the new climate here at Pune. The Hibiscus, I just planted it last saturday.

How I wish to see the next set of spring flowers in your garden!!!” Marina

Wasn’t that a lovely email to receive from halfway around the world? I hope that TheGardenLady readers get such compliments on your gardens. Please share comments about your garden with all the readers.

PS I have contacted Burpee seeds and they corroborated that they are not allowed to sell seeds in India. How sad.

TheGardenLady has Mirabilis Jalapa flowers growing in her garden. Their common name is Four O’clocks. They are rugged perennials and have surprisingly returned for me in hardiness Temp. Zone 6 for the last few years.

2012 Rutgers Ramapo Tomato Seed‏

Famous Rutgers Ramapo tomatoes by Chester Garden Club

If gardeners are interested in getting the Rutgers Ramapo seed to plant in your garden in 2012, a tomato that is supposed to give you a taste of what tomatoes had tasted like when I was a child, check out the Rutgers website.

I believe that the tomatoes my parents raised were some of the best tomatoes ever grown. The taste was incredibly delicious. My mother would can them whole and they were delicious right out of the jar. I always joked that my husband married me because of my parents’ tomato crop. Or maybe it wasn’t a joke…..

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